BACKGROUND: Surprisingly little research exists examining the objective physical activity (PA) of college students. Previous research from our laboratory found daily step averages of approximately 8800 steps per day while averaging 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) per day in a sample that consisted of all levels of college students. Yet to be examined is whether there is a difference in these values depending on time spent on campus of a residential university. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the difference in PA between newer college students and those who are older and have more experience at a residential university setting. METHODS: Male (n = 46) and female (n = 91) college students (age = 20.3 ± 1.7; BMI = 24.5 ± 4.5) underwent 7-day objective PA assessment via ActiGraph accelerometer. Independent sample t-tests were used to assess mean differences in PA between students less than 20 years of age and those 20 years and older. RESULTS: Students 20+ years (n = 90) took fewer steps per day (8648.1 ± 2739.1 vs. 10897.0 ± 3764.8, P <0.001), and accumulated fewer minutes of MVPA per day (56.1 ± 22.5 vs. 80.2 ± 33.3, P<0.001) than students less than 20 years (n = 47). There was no difference in the number of sedentary minutes accumulated per day (773.8 ± 165.1 and 782.6 ± 156.1 for older and younger respectively; P = 0.7) or light intensity PA minutes (237.3 ± 66.7 and 248.5 ± 66.6; P = 0.35). Body weight or BMI did not differ between groups. CONCLUSION: Our findings indicate a substantial divergence in daily step count and MVPA between older and younger college students. Although the precise determinants of this gap remain elusive, our findings suggest that housing arrangements may play a pivotal role. Older college students tend to reside off-campus and depend more on motor vehicles for commuting to campus, while their younger counterparts predominantly live on-campus, resulting in increased PA through active commuting between dormitories, classes, dining facilities and other campus activities.

This document is currently not available here.